In a recent post here —America Is Alive and Well. You’re Just Not Looking In The Right Direction(s)—I wrote:

I fully expect to see an article in the Sunday NY Times about 15 or 20 white Williamsburgh no-dancing hipster wannabes having a “big” party in an abandoned Brooklyn warehouse.

It took a couple more days than I expected and it was in Queens, not Brooklyn…but there it was, large as (media) life.

Group Behind Underground Music Venue in Queens Seeks a New Barn

The future looks uncertain for the Silent Barn, a celebrated underground music venue in southern Queens. Members of the collective that runs the venue said they had decided to search for a new home and to shut down the space at 915 Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood, where they have been showcasing bands and performance artists for seven years. The reason: the city buildings department has ordered the musicians and artists living in the old industrial building to vacate it unless an extensive renovation is done.


The Silent Barn has been a fixture in the underground music scene for years in Brooklyn and southern Queens, serving as an incubator for several beloved indie bands like the Vivian Girls, Teengirl Fantasy and The Dirty Projectors.

Now I don’t know about you, but I do not need to search out tracks by groups with names like “the Vivian Girls, Teengirl Fantasy and The Dirty Projectors” to know exactly and precisely how lame their musicianship may be, nor do I need a YouTube video to see the people who dragged themselves out of their onanistic little hipster-world warrens to go witness these undoubtedly fine examples of our ongoing musical and cultural collapse.

Just sayin’…the above article made the Google News front page today.

The NY Salsa Congress scene at the Manhattan Hilton that was the real subject of that America Is Alive and Well. You’re Just Not Looking In The Right Direction(s) article…5 days long, thousands strong, an audience of the same general age group as the so-called “hipster” scene, totally racially mixed and absolutely burning? Not a peep from the good TimesFellas.

Read on.
Now you might claim that the reason I’m pissed off is because latin music is an idiom in which I am artistically involved and the syndrome extends to almost all of the other groups w/which I play and have played for 40+ years in NYC. (Go here for another take on the same media act from the fine small publication The Brooklyn Rail. New York’s Best-Kept Jazz Secret by William S. Niederkorn. I play at that Baha’i Center venue often with a number of the bands mentioned.) But these sorts of things are simply small drops in the badly damaged and leaking cultural bucket of America. The corporate-owned media hype whatever is most profitable to the corporate world that owns those media. That corporate world would rather drop some garage band that literally cannot tune its own guitars into the mix than put a spotlight on a band like The Mambo Legends because more complex musical systems are harder and more expensive to produce plus real musicians will not allow themselves to be ripped off and are not easily discarded and replaced if they start to make waves.

And this syndrome is not limited to music, either.

Here’s a parallel story from the same day. Same newspaper as well. (More about that later.)

A Poetic Mentor Who Minces Few Words


Four stories above East 12th Street, down the hall from Allen Ginsberg’s old apartment, one of the East Village’s last standing bohemians soldiers on.

Mr. Fagin, 74 years old, second-generation beat, New York School veteran, friend of Ted Berrigan, publisher of Ashbery, lives with his wife, Susan Noel, also a writer, in adjoining rent-controlled apartments in the building near Avenue A.

Although Mr. Fagin — a handsome, T-shirt-and-jeans kind of guy with a square build, tousled silver hair and a cheerful air of insubordination — now collects Social Security, his chief source of income for decades has been giving private creative-writing lessons and editing and producing small magazines and chapbooks from the work of students and friends.

He reports that despite former teaching gigs at the New School and St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, neither he nor his wife have held anything resembling a straight job for any substantial period of time, though he has worked, he says, as a librarian, a reader to the blind and a “black marketer.”

“I try to be disaffiliated from bourgeois society,” Mr. Fagin said the other day, “like most good people. Because all we have are these very few, precious days.”


Mr. Fagin seems to exert a magnetic pull on his students.

“If you have any inclination to get in touch with the arts, to express yourself creatively, and you live in this century, and in this city, and you’re struggling to make ends meet –and I fall into this category — you’ll be enamored by Larry,” said Kate Thompson, 30, a former market researcher from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, who has studied prose fiction with Mr. Fagin for a year. “You walk into his apartment and it’s just filled with all this stuff you recognize and don’t fully know but you want to.”

In a classroom setting, Mr. Fagin has had mixed success. For about five years, until 2007, he was an adjunct at the New School, where he rubbed many people the wrong way, said one former student, Kathleen Kyllo.

“By the time the last class rolled around attendance was significantly lower,” she said in an e-mail. “Where students had once sat closer to him near the front of the room we were hanging back in a defensive mass.” She recalled an incident where Mr. Fagin announced to the class that her poetry was “too vaginal.”

Mr. Fagin acknowledged that he got “really mean” in the classroom. “You walk in and all these faces are staring at you and you want some reaction from them but they really have nothing to offer you. It’s like, come on you jack wagons!”

All in all, Mr. Fagin takes a blighted view of the current generation of aspiring artists, whom he likened to “pod people.”

“They are so inundated by information, they have no way to sort all this stuff out — it’s like being perpetually electrocuted but not realizing it,” he said.

This man is one of the real ones. He didn’t cop out, he just continued doing what he does.

Nor does he have much good to say about what has come of his once-beloved downtown art world, which, by his reckoning, ended in February 1975 at a dinner party around the corner hosted by Claes and Patty Oldenburg.

Mr. Fagin, who went with his friend the critic and poet Peter Schjeldahl, recalled his excitement that the artist Robert Smithson was to be in attendance. “But when we got there, all anyone talked about was real estate,” he said. “They’d all just bought lofts in what was later to be called SoHo. We left and I said to Peter, `Well, that’s the end of civilization.'”


But the interesting part is this…why is the NY Times covering both the Queens lamers and this serious poet and teacher?

The answer lies in the media’s 98%-2% “equal coverage” myth.

The best example of this…and the one with by far the most evil consequences to both the U .S. and the world in general…was the media’s selling of the Cheney/Bush II invasion of Iraq.

Surely you remember how the selling was done, right?


Let me refresh your media-clogged memories, me news-saturated doogies.

I wrote this about a year and a half ago.

And The Mirror Broke

So…you say that you do not understand how the people who control this system could allow such epidemic fuckups to take place on an almost daily basis?

You watch TV and see poisonous foods being massively advertised as what you should eat?

Glossily produced spiels for drugs so poisonous that a good part of the ad must contain a voiceover listing its negative effects?

You are daily bombarded with fear-producing news about the ongoing dangers of terrorism and disease, yet the very forces that are supposed to protect you from those forces are quite plainly totally incompetent?

Is that what’s bothering you, bunky?

Well, lissen up.


Never forget the run-up to the invasion of Iraq as well. It was rather crudely done…the media have come a long way in this regard over a span of less than 10 years…but it was very effective. Literally hundreds of military and (supposedly) ex-military “experts” blathering on about the necessity of war, balanced by an occasional frumpy looking nun or frazzle haired 50-ish ex-hippie talking about “peace in our time.”

The article about Mr. Fagin? He was cast in the 2% frumpy nun role while the other 98% of the paper hyped death, destruction and the end of American culture.

Those of you who wonder why I keep pressing on opposition to the media as the single most important effort that can be made if we are to right this floundering ship of state before it goes down with all hands? Why I write so often about Newstrike/Mediastrike/Culturestrike?

Go read this And The Mirror Broke article again.

I cannot say it any better. Read it.





As the great basketball player and world class fuckup Micheal Ray Richardson said when asked about the state of one of the sad NY/NJ Nets teams with which he played:

“The ship be sinkin’.”


Start bailing, folks. The water’s rising fast.

The first truly strong and effective action that you can take? It won’t need a great deal of time or effort and it will not only require no financial commitment but wlll actually save you money…





You will fall up, y’know. If you dare to try.

Bet on it.  

I am.



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